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You'd Be Surprised at What's Tax Deductible
Wall Street Journal ^ | 02/12/2013 | RACHEL LOUISE ENSIGN

Posted on 02/11/2013 8:01:11 AM PST by SeekAndFind

What's a more valuable tax deduction, a deadbeat boyfriend or a vicious guard dog? It depends on how big a deadbeat the boyfriend is.

No, this isn't a bad joke.

It's among the things taxpayers ask each year as they try to squeeze out whatever deductions they can.

And tax experts say they've heard it all.

Among the zaniest: How do I value a taxidermy I donated to charity? (It can involve estimating stuffing and mounting costs.) I'm putting a swimming pool in this year, I'm going to use it for exercise, can I deduct it as a medical expense? (Likely not.) What if my neighbor gives me a cow in exchange for help building a barn? (You must report the fair market value of that cow as ordinary income.)

Some people "are very creative and want to see if they can outsmart the tax code," says S. Miguel Reyna, a certified public accountant in Dallas.

Of course, many of the queries aren't so offbeat. Here's a sampling of questions that tax experts are often asked.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Society
KEYWORDS: deductions; irs; tax; taxdeduction; taxes

1 posted on 02/11/2013 8:01:18 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

For those who go to join a gym to lose weight, here’s one Q&A that would be of interest.

FROM THE ARTICLE....

Q: My doctor said that I need to lose weight. Can I deduct my gym membership?

A: In theory, some weight-loss-related expenses are deductible. In practice, deducting them is tough, say tax experts.

You only qualify if you need to lose weight because of a specific, doctor-diagnosed disease, says Gil Charney, principal tax research analyst at the Tax Institute at H&R Block HRB -0.46% .

The only costs that would then qualify as medical expenses would have to be specific to your weight-loss regimen. So a so-called general-use item, such as a gym membership, wouldn’t pass muster, but a specific weight-loss program would, he says.

Again, you can only deduct medical expenses once they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for 2012.


2 posted on 02/11/2013 8:02:50 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

What if my neighbor gives me a cow in exchange for help building a barn? (You must report the fair market value of that cow as ordinary income.)


Hahaha. That sort of thing happens all the time around the area where I live. Do you seriously think this sort of thing is EVER reported?

How do you think all the people around the rural area I live survive on $10 an hour? Everybody is fixing their buddy’s car for plumbing, or doing plumbing for electrical, or doing electrical for a bunch of beef. People just living their lives, government free.


3 posted on 02/11/2013 8:05:46 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: cuban leaf

It’s called a BARTER economy. Unless we have a Fascist, Communist or Nazi-like regime that spies on people, the IRS ( increasingly given snooping powers by the Fed ) cannot get anything out of it.


4 posted on 02/11/2013 8:10:29 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

We seriously need a flat tax. 18 percent for all...no paperwork and no refunds. All these stupid rules for what? Nothing. I wonder if ANYONE does an accurate Tax assessment anymore. Most people probably get ripped off and pay more than they are supposed to.


5 posted on 02/11/2013 8:10:29 AM PST by napscoordinator (/)
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To: SeekAndFind
I'm putting a swimming pool in this year, I'm going to use it for exercise, can I deduct it as a medical expense? (Likely not.)

Yes, when prescribed. Wife's best friend did this a few years back after open-heart surgery left her paralyzed.

6 posted on 02/11/2013 8:12:37 AM PST by HiJinx (The New Year is here; to all Men Good Cheer. (Last one out, turn out the lights.))
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s called a BARTER economy.


And to speak to Jesus’ words about taxes, Ceasar’s inscription is nowhere to be found on any of the livestock in my area.


7 posted on 02/11/2013 8:16:45 AM PST by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: napscoordinator

RE: We seriously need a flat tax.

I would prefer a national sales tax. Look, I love our constitution and believe it is one of the greatest gifts our framers gave to posterity.

But it became a mess when Woodrow Wilson pushed the 16th amendment on the American people ( and our ancestors at that time foolishly ACCEPTED IT ).

Ever since then, the INCOME TAX has now become a basis for all sorts of social engineering. It has also given the IRS unprecedented police powers to tell you what kind of life you can live, up to and including going overseas to track down whatever income you have earned ( just ask the many LEGAL immigrants who have had assets overseas before they became US citizens ).

The very fact that we have the above article in this thread just shows how UNFREE a people we have become as a result of the 16th amendment. We now have to literally ask the Federal government whether we can do this or that in order to prevent them from taking more of our money.


8 posted on 02/11/2013 8:17:15 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

There was a case some years ago, where a Man with Prostate Cancer was told by His Doctor to have SEX more frequently, maybe every day, the Doctor even wrote a prescription. The Mans Wife was not up to it, so He went to Nevada and began visiting Brothels regularly. He deducted All expenses as a necessary medical expenses. This went all the way through the Tax Court system and he PREVAILED because he had a Note from his doctor.


9 posted on 02/11/2013 8:17:23 AM PST by eyeamok
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To: napscoordinator

I’d rather see 10-15% staggered by income (three tiers: low, middle and high) and a 1-2% national sales tax excluding groceries. Scrap all other federal taxes like gas tax, death tax etc...


10 posted on 02/11/2013 8:18:04 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: Resolute Conservative

I like your plan a lot. I wonder if there was anyway to ban all state income taxes and have that come from a general fund. I guess if we had really good politicans even that might work but with their desire to spend, spend, spend, I guess that wouldn’t work.


11 posted on 02/11/2013 8:20:59 AM PST by napscoordinator (/)
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To: cuban leaf; SeekAndFind

>>Hahaha. That sort of thing happens all the time around the area where I live. Do you seriously think this sort of thing is EVER reported?<<

In their defense, they are just providing the official answer to the the question.

If the IRS ever got return that actually LISTED a bartered cow they would probably blow it up and frame it as a once in a country’s lifetime event!


12 posted on 02/11/2013 8:22:08 AM PST by freedumb2003 (I learned everything I needed to know about racism from Colin Powell)
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To: Resolute Conservative

>>I’d rather see 10-15% staggered by income (three tiers: low, middle and high)<<

In 5 years you would be back where we are now.

Flat tax or sales tax (not both) and nothing else.


13 posted on 02/11/2013 8:23:57 AM PST by freedumb2003 (I learned everything I needed to know about racism from Colin Powell)
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To: SeekAndFind

I had been taking ACCESS, a shared ride program for the elderly and disabled, to and from medical appointments for several years till I found out those costs are deductible. There are deductions out there that aren’t publicized, which is one if the reasons I’ve been seeing my tax preparer, Bill, every year.


14 posted on 02/11/2013 8:32:29 AM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: freedumb2003

Changing the tax code would be paramount to a constitutional change so make any rates locked in and only changeable by state ratification or more than simple majority in both chambers.

There would also have to be same type of laws for spending and balance budgets mandatory. The states have got to have more say so when these entitlement spending bills come down the pike.

Repealing the 17th would help by putting senators again answerable to the states.


15 posted on 02/11/2013 8:37:06 AM PST by Resolute Conservative
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To: SeekAndFind

I am having surgery on my left elbow and wrist soon.
I am going to ask the doctor if golf, 3 times a week, could be incorporated into my rehab program.


16 posted on 02/11/2013 8:43:57 AM PST by stylin19a
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To: SeekAndFind
I would prefer a national sales tax. Look, I love our constitution and believe it is one of the greatest gifts our framers gave to posterity.

But it became a mess when Woodrow Wilson pushed the 16th amendment on the American people ( and our ancestors at that time foolishly ACCEPTED IT ).

Ever since then, the INCOME TAX has now become a basis for all sorts of social engineering. It has also given the IRS unprecedented police powers to tell you what kind of life you can live, up to and including going overseas to track down whatever income you have earned ( just ask the many LEGAL immigrants who have had assets overseas before they became US citizens ).

The very fact that we have the above article in this thread just shows how UNFREE a people we have become as a result of the 16th amendment. We now have to literally ask the Federal government whether we can do this or that in order to prevent them from taking more of our money.

Spot on.

17 posted on 02/11/2013 8:45:30 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: napscoordinator
All these stupid rules for what? Nothing.

Political rewards for past contributions. Just try undoing any of them - somebody more influential than you will scream bloody murder.

18 posted on 02/11/2013 8:50:53 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: napscoordinator
All these stupid rules for what? Nothing.

Political rewards for past contributions. Just try undoing any of them - somebody more influential than you will scream bloody murder.

19 posted on 02/11/2013 8:51:03 AM PST by Mr. Jeeves (CTRL-GALT-DELETE)
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To: napscoordinator
We seriously need a flat tax. 18 percent for all...no paperwork and no refunds.

After all the calculations are done my effective tax rate is 10%. Why would I want to go up to 18%?

20 posted on 02/11/2013 8:52:21 AM PST by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
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To: freedumb2003
In their defense, they are just providing the official answer to the the question. If the IRS ever got return that actually LISTED a bartered cow they would probably blow it up and frame it as a once in a country’s lifetime event!

That'd be right there with reporting out-of-state (including mail/internet order) purchases for "use tax" (if sales tax wasn't already paid) on a state tax return. Sure, it's required by law, but most people don't even know about it, let alone do it.

21 posted on 02/11/2013 8:53:48 AM PST by kevkrom (If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs...)
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To: SeekAndFind

Zero per cent income tax (individual and corporate)
One per cent national sales tax (to keep the lights on)
Some tarriffs and excises
All other government “income” comes from voluntary contributions


22 posted on 02/11/2013 8:54:38 AM PST by fnord (My life is like the movie Willard, except with hummingbirds)
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To: stylin19a

Under the Affordable Care act all you’re getting is a bottle of hand lotion and a subscription to Playboy...


23 posted on 02/11/2013 9:10:47 AM PST by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: Resolute Conservative

An easier way is for states to halt the Federal Government from taking taxes directly from its citizens. The state would collect those taxes and hold them in escrow. If the Federal Government starts getting uppity, the state simply does not release the tax’s he;d in escrow. THAT would give each state tremendous power and put power back directly into the hands of the people of each state.


24 posted on 02/11/2013 9:20:38 AM PST by Michael Barnes (Obamaa+ Downgrade)
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To: SeekAndFind
Again, you can only deduct medical expenses once they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income...

That should be a breeze for a lot of folks after ObamaCare kicks into high gear.

25 posted on 02/11/2013 9:58:10 AM PST by Bloody Sam Roberts (Here once the embattled farmers stood... And fired the shot heard round the world.)
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To: napscoordinator

How about 9%?


26 posted on 02/11/2013 10:35:29 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: eyeamok

An urban legend. A doctor would not prescribe sex and especially not sex with a prostitute.
You can handle that job by yourself.


27 posted on 02/11/2013 10:55:37 AM PST by AppyPappy (You never see a massacre at a gun show.)
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